Jarno Trulli could have his third-place finish at the Australian Grand Prix reinstated, after stewards reopened the hearing into Sunday's finish.
Jarno Trulli could have his third-place finish at the Australian Grand Prix reinstated, four days after stewards imposed a post-race penalty that cost the Toyota driver nine places in the season-opening Grand Prix.
Formula One stewards have reopened the hearing into Trulli’s overtaking of Lewis Hamilton behind the safety car in last Sunday’s race, with the case to be heard on Thursday.
Trulli was demoted from third place to 12th by a 25-second penalty after stewards found him guilty of undertaking under safety car conditions. That promoted reigning world champion Hamilton from fourth to third.
The FIA, F1’s governing authority, released a statement saying “a new element has emerged regarding the incident” and on Thursday both drivers were summoned to meet stewards at the Sepang track, site of this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
Thursday’s decision had the potential to alter the ruling on who finished third in Australia, and other points positions.
Trulli claimed he had no choice but to overtake Hamilton, who had slowed markedly in the safety car period as the race drew to a close.
“The FIA really got it wrong in that decision,” Trulli was quoted as saying in the New Straits Times newspaper. “We have all the evidence, including Hamilton’s admission, that I did not overtake him. He let me pass.
“Hamilton had a problem and he slowed down, almost stopping. There was nothing else I could do but keep going, and in order to do that, I had to pass him.”
Toyota issued a statement on Wednesday saying it had initially wanted to appeal the decision but elected not to, based on past appeals which had been rejected on procedural grounds.
Both Hamilton and McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said immediately after the Australian Grand Prix that they had passed Trulli early in the safety car period when the Italian ran wide, and then later yielded the position.
The race finished under safety car conditions after a crash four laps from the finish involving Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, who was in second place at the time, and BMW’s Robert Kubica, who was in third place.
Neither finished the race, with Brawn GP drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello finishing first and second, followed across the line by Trulli and Hamilton.—Sapa-AP